Export Control Regulations (ECR) are a body of law enacted by the federal government to protect national and economic security and advance U.S. foreign policy goals by prohibiting the unlicensed transfer to foreign nationals of items that are subject to trade restrictions or have proprietary, military or economic applications.
A number of federal agencies and departments have a degree of responsibility for administering and enforcing ECR, however, primary jurisdiction resides within the Departments of Treasury, State and Commerce. Specifically:
Export control regulations apply to the transfer of controlled items to foreign nationals by actual shipment out of the U.S., and also by transfer of controlled technology/technical data and/or encryption software by written, oral or visual release or disclosure to foreign nationals both in- and out- side of U.S. borders. Consequently, export controls can impact University activities on-campus as well as abroad, including:
Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security requires all new, renewed or amended H1-B, H-1B1 Chile/Singapore, L-1, and O-1A visa petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) include a Certification Regarding the Release of Controlled Technology or Technical Data to Foreign Persons in the United States (PDF). This ‘Deemed Export Attestation’, as it is also known, can affect the University’s ability to hire a candidate of foreign nationality and preclude an employee of foreign nationality from participating in research that involves controlled items.
Recognizing the importance of academic freedom and the sharing of research results to the furtherance of knowledge, the federal government provides exceptions to certain licensing rules under EAR and ITAR (not FAC ) for qualified research conducted at accredited U.S. institutions of higher education. License exceptions are provided for:
Important! Although the majority of research conducted at the University of Maine qualifies as fundamental research, neither the fundamental research exclusion nor the public domain exclusion can be invoked for physical goods, software and encryption, research when there is no intent to publish results, research conducted outside the U.S., and research involving persons or countries subject to any sanctions. Likewise, no exclusion can be claimed if the University or the researcher accepts award restrictions regarding the participation of foreign nationals, or the access to, or dissemination or publication of resulting research information.
Violations of export control regulations carry potential criminal, civil and administrative penalties for the University and the individual researcher or staff member. Penalties can range from fines in the millions of dollars and imprisonment for as much as 30 years, to the revocation or denial of licenses, seizure & forfeiture of goods, and debarment from all government contracting. Don’t Let This Happen to You! (PDF)
It is critical for University researchers, research team members and support staff to: be aware, and understand the implications of export controls for University activities; be sufficiently schooled in the regulations to recognize potential export control issues; and contact the University Compliance Officer immediately when an export control concern arises.
Training in export controls is available online in abbreviated format – ECR Quick Course (PDF), and in Blackboard as a narrated presentation with accompanying case studies and quiz.